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DSWD reg’l director says ESA list should be made public

ORMOC CITY – Nestor Ramos, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said that the masterlist of beneficiaries of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), which some mistakenly call the “DAFAC”, should be made public before the city is released the P 689-million intended for the purpose.

Ramos said the list must be posted in public places, in the spirit of transparency and so that the locals will know whether they are in the list or not, or who are in the list which do not qualify under the November 2014 amended guidelines.

This is in contrast to what city social welfare officer Marietta Legaspi has been announcing over radio that she will not bare the list, because it might create chaos.

The DSWD regional director said this during a meeting on the matter called by councilor Vince Rama, SP committee chairman on social welfare and development, on the afternoon of Tuesday.

Rama called for the meeting to shed light on what was delaying the release of the funds, and to put an end to the “he said, she said” reports on the issue.

The meeting had the full attendance of the city council. Also present were Mrs. Legaspi and city legal officer Ivan Verallo. A majority, if not all, of Ormoc’s 110 barangay chairmen were also present.

During the meeting, Legaspi explained that Mayor Edward Codilla has proposed to Secretary Dinky Soliman of the DSWD to equitably distribute the available funds, some P 689-million, to some 52,000 beneficiaries on the list.

“In principle,” said Legaspi, the proposal was already approved by Soliman. Under the proposed scheme, those listed with “partially” damaged houses will get their full P 10,000.00 shelter assistance. Meanwhile, those listed with “totally” damaged houses will only get P 15,700.00.

Her announcement got the cheers of the barangay chairmen, which she visibly prompted to applaud, while lawyer Verallo was seen elbowing her to restrain her from doing so.

Regional director Ramos, on the other hand, said there was a “99.9 percent chance” of Soliman approving the proposed scheme, adding that to cover for the discrepancy for those with totally damaged houses, they will also get 15 GI sheets each.

He said that currently, they have a stock of 120,000 GI sheets ready for release, but something like 435,000 will be needed.

To explain the discrepancy between the approved 40,000 beneficiaries by OPARR which is supposed to be funded in full by the P 689-million, and that of the 52,000 that the city listed, Legaspi said that this was because the qualified recipients were amended from “households” in the old circular, to “families” in the new circular. Hence, the increase, she said.

Meanwhile, councilors Rama, Bennet Pongos, and Tommy Serafica said they had no objections to the proposal.

Serafica, however, emphasized that he hoped the listing was real-to-goodness because it might generate more complaints.

Vice mayor Leo Carmelo “Toto” Locsin Jr., on the other hand, said he hopes Legaspi gets to completing the required documents already so that the monies could be released. “That would be a big help to the victims”, Locsin said, “whether it’s P10,000, P 15,000 or P 30,000.”

For her part, Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, who had also followed up on the status of the ESA with regional director Ramos, said she had no objection to the proposal. What is important to her is that the funds are released already because it was already more than a year after Yolanda, and she knows there are still people who need it.

Asked when the funds could be released, Ramos said that they could even release it the next day because the money is already there, but that would be up to Legaspi.

He said that because of the ‘amended scheme’, they would need Soliman to put her approval to the proposal and Legaspi had yet to submit it to him.

The regional director said that any deviation from the approved scheme, referring to the new guidelines, has to have the approval of the Secretary or they might be answerable to the Commission on Audit about it, if he approves it at his level.

He also emphasized it was important for the CSWDO to make the list public or publicize it, as this would help them evaluate the veracity and integrity of the listing.

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